Thursday, June 7, 2018
It’s now been almost six years to the day since Greyhound Racing SA Chief Executive Officer Matt Corby and Strategic Projects Manager Scott Wuchatsch met with local participants at Tara Raceway.
That was the night when Corby made the game-changing announcement that the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club would be allocated TAB meetings on alternate Friday and Sunday afternoons at the local raceway.
A fair bit’s changed since then, not the least being more race meetings – which has seen full-time staff appointed – more prizemoney for all grades of greyhounds and a main race that is now Group Listed.
Now, there’s a slipping track for greyhounds to be exercised on, an automatic track watering system, a kids’ playground, refurbished kennel house, a purpose-built TAB area, 600 metre racing, along with new tractors and shedding to accommodate them. And, of course, there’s the recent major track upgrade.
Corby and Wuchatsch, together with Grantley Stevens (Chairman), Shaun Mathieson (Racing Manager), Sarah Webster (Chief Operating Officer), Lisa Michalanney (Integrity Manager) and Dianne Dumanovic (Marketing Manager), were back at Tara Raceway on Tuesday night for the second of three whirlwind industry engagement and consultation sessions – Gawler and Murray Bridge sessions conducted on the Monday and Wednesday.
But there were no game-changing announcements this time around, Corby outlining industry returns and breeder support and highlighting the industry stakemoney movement which has risen from $2.77m in 2006-7 to $8.36m in 2016-17.
And Wuchatsch discussed a suggested four TAB venue strategy – Angle Park (Tuesday, Thursday), Gawler (Wednesday fortnightly, Sunday), Mount Gambier (Wednesday fortnightly, Sunday), Murray Bridge (Monday 1-turn, Friday straight) – although this strategy is by no means a definite at this stage.
Wuchatsch also said that an upgrade of the Tara Raceway racing kennels was on the agenda but that would not take place until after the completion of the Murray Bridge track.
Senior managers outlined their roles, with Dumanovic, in a bid to generate further interest in the region, looking at a stand at the Mount Gambier Show that would focus primarily on the racing side of the greyhound industry.
In an open forum that followed, concern was expressed that a lack of trainers, particularly younger ones, was holding the sport back. Suggestions were put forward in regard to a mentoring strategy for the education of younger trainers, an industry education process and even the involvement of schools.
The subject of racing under lights at Tara Raceway was also raised, the point being made that greyhound racing was now no longer the “working man’s sport” due to so many weekday afternoon meetings being run.
Stevens told participants that GRSA wanted to help the MGGRC to grow and was very pleased with the manner in which it was run.
“We want strong clubs, we want strong regions. You should be proud of your club.”